The Art of Deception
or Pride and Extreme Prejudice
Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar. Last week, Mr Spode took Lucy and Alice for a ride. His, and their, plan was to provide a distraction to cover a room search. They’ve reached the monument and are on the way back when Alice discovers her horse isn’t quite as suitable for young ladies and invalids as she thought.
Her mare, realizing that this was now the return journey and that she was in front, took off; first at a trot, then a canter and finally, when a dog from one of the farms by the lane barked at her, a full-fledged gallop; Alice was no mean horsewoman, but riding a bolting horse is never easy or enjoyable.
Fortunately, a man who was riding a horse uphill in front of her, realized what was happening and urged his horse to the rescue; as she bolted past him, he galloped along her left side and by urging his horse to turn to the right eventually forced the two animals into a field; they circled, in successively smaller circles, until her mare calmed.
Finally able to look up from trying to control her mare, Alice turned to thank her saviour, “Mr Stanton! What are you doing here? I thought you were ill.”
“Well, I have felt better, but a change of air seemed an excellent idea; I remembered that your party was bound for the monument and decided to seek your company.”
“I’m glad you found me,” Alice was still a little breathless, “I’m not sure what I would have done.”
“You were holding your own; I haven’t seen such a fine display of horsemanship in a long while.”
Now that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.
My apologies for creative punctuation.
You may wonder how Roderick could arrange for Alice’s slug of a horse to bolt. It’s not as if he could put corundum powder on the steering gear (as in an Inspector Foyle story) or let most of the petrol out of the tank as Jeeves does in “the old school chum.” He couldn’t arrange for the horse specifically to bolt, but he could ensure that there would be some crisis or another by “figging” or “gingering up” the horse. Figging is an old horse cooper’s trick where an irritant is shoved up the horse’s backside. It gives the animal the appearance of spirit and was used to pass off an old or sick animal as healthy. Needless to say, it is unethical and cruel. People still occasionally try it in dressage where the conformation of the horse’s tail is important. It’s also, apparently, a common practice in BDSM – at least to judge from what I found when I searched for a relevant illustration. Roderick only uses it because he believes he is chasing a French spy – a serious matter. After all, she’d do the same, or worse, to him if she had the chance.
Like poor Cecelia, “The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.
I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere This is a fun read.
Frankenkitty is available.
What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.
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16 thoughts on “The Art of Deception 30”
Picking on the poor horse … I think I like Roderick a bit less. As for complimenting her on her horsemanship, clearly HIS riding was superior to hers.
He’s not quite perfect, to say the least. Staying on a bolting horse is sort of like riding a motorcycle down a twisty canyon with the throttle stuck wide open and no brakes.
What a gentleman: comes to her rescue and then complements her on her horsemanship. As for figging, I have to admit I only knew the term related to BDSM.
Thank you. I didn’t know about the modern human usage of it. In horse circles today it’s called “gingering up” – but you don’t just use ginger (there are tests for it.)
Well, I’m not quite sure what to make of him – can’t wait to find out more!
He’s not one-dimensional. Thanks.
How do you get the “gingering” to work after a time interval?
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A specially prepared bolus that dissolves? Actually the mare bolts on the way home – when she thinks there’s an end in sight. This (the bolting not the figging) happened to me on one of my few ventures on horseback. The sorry nag dragged all the way out on a trail and then once we were heading back took off.
Why did they need the horse to bolt? That seems drastic and potentially deadly…a bit out of step with the semicomic nature of the events we’ve seen before in this spy tale. I’m sure it all makes sense though if we were reading straight through the book. Minor nit: the word ‘horse’ appears a LOT in this snippet, maybe substitute in something else at least once or twice…
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It does make sense in the whole story. (There is a dark under-current that I’ve sort of minimized in these snippets.) Roderick needs to find some way to gain Alice’s trust and what better way that coming to her rescue? It doesn’t really work – especially when she finds her room’s been searched while she was out riding. (A chip in the wardrobe door.)
I’m not sure what I would have done either. Great snippet! 😀
Lucky that he was there to help her! Great snippet.
He sort of engineered it. Think of a cross between James Bond and Mr Darcy.
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Ohh…I see XD
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